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Video footage from Tamil Nadu showing a 2016 speech of TN Congress MLA, S Vijayadharani of Vilavancode constituency in Kanyakumari district, speaking on the “wisdom” of the fugitive Islamic missionary preacher, Zakir Naik, is inviting several comments with netizens expressing shock, disbelief and disgust.
Vijayadharani is a three time Congress MLA and a practising lawyer. She has held high profile posts in the Congress Party. She was the Tamil Nadu Assembly Congress Legislative Party chief whip, is a former President of the Tamil Nadu Magalir Congress (TN Congress Women’s wing). In 2016, she was promoted to the position of General Secretary of the All India Mahila Congress.
In the controversial 2016 video, the Congress MLA from Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, is heard praising the “wisdom” of the fundamentalist Islamist preacher and Muslim evangelist Zakir Naik, a fugitive wanted in India by the CBI, NIA and the ED in connection with several cases ranging from hate mongering, inciting terrorist activities, forced conversions to money laundering.
In the short clip making the rounds on Twitter, Vijayadharani mentions that Zakir Naik reminds her of herself, that the man has done a comparative study of the faiths of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity and talked about their merits and that he is indeed a wise man, who is being unfortunately/unfairly investigated by the Indian government (referring to the BJP). She goes on to unabashedly state that such governments (headed by parties like the BJP) are not needed and should not be elected by the people!
The reckless, unresearched, non-factual comments on a known Islamic fundamentalist and a wanted man by Indian law enforcement agencies, made by an elected leader belonging to the “secular” Congress party, could not be further from the truth about Zakir Naik, whose admirers include many banned Islamist organizations. Vijayadharani’s irresponsible comments are not befitting of a national political party but the Congress party, predictably did not post any significant reaction to the embarrassing incident.
In reality, Zakir Naik’s preaching proclaims his irrational, prejudiced view of Islam being a superior religion over all others and Islam being the only “true” religion. Zakir Naik is a radical “Salafi” Islamist and muslim evangelist, often criticised for preaching Islamic supremacy. He is the founder president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) based in Mumbai and the founder of ‘Peace TV’ channel. His preaching is banned in several nations including India, Bangladesh, Canada, the UK and Srilanka. Several terrorists including the 2006 Mumbai train & Dhaka cafe attackers, have claimed to be motivated by his extremist speeches. His talks were also said to have inspired the deadly Srilankan “Easter Sunday” church blasts in 2019.
In November 2016, the Indian government had declared Naik’s IRF, an unlawful association under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Soon after, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Zakir Naik, accusing him of having incited many people to take up terror activities and promoting enmity between different religious groups in India, through his public speeches and lectures. Four of his properties in Mumbai have been attached by the NIA.
The Congress MLA, Vijayadharani had made the unverified comments at an 2016 Eid celebration event, organized by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political front of the terror-linked Islamist organization PFI (Popular Front of India) which was banned earlier this year. PFI has its roots in the banned SIMI and its cadre have been charge-sheeted or convicted, in at least four different terror cases apart from being accused in the murders of several Hindu activists. An NIA probe concluded that “PFI had consistently been indulging in actions detrimental to national security”.
Zakir Naik is currently a fugitive living in Malaysia, a muslim country that granted him permanent residency, after being denied similar opportunities in countries like the U.K and Canada that refused to take him in. The Indian government has revoked his passport. Interestingly, Malaysia has recently banned Zakir Naik from public speaking after reports of divisive, incendiary speeches against Malaysian Hindus of Indian origin and Malaysians of Chinese origin.
"Zakir Naik is a saint", that's a congress sitting MLA from TN
FIFA World Cup
— Vishwatma 🇮🇳 (@HLKodo) November 23, 2022
The circulation of the TN Congress leader’s 2016 video clip, praising the radical Islamist with an unsavory reputation in India and abroad, comes at a time when the internet is abuzz with news that the 2022 FIFA host nation, Qatar had invited Zakir Naik to the World Cup inauguration in Doha, on Sunday. Qatar has informed India through diplomatic channels that no official invitation was extended to Indian fugitive and Islamist Zakir Naik to attend the November 20, 2022 opening of the FIFA World Cup In Doha. Qatar claims that deliberate “disinformation” was being spread by third countries to spoil India-Qatar bilateral relations.
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